Today I am back yet again with another recipe like I told you before March and April are the Birthday months here in my household. so I decided to surprise my little sister with an awesome lemon birthday cake! I did not want to use a regular American buttercream because in my experience the flavor is not balanced at all. The sugar usually overpowers the whole thing so I decided to go a different route!
Alright, can you look at that!! How beautiful is this lemon curd vanilla bean layered cake? I make this 6-inch cake and then covered it using this Vanilla Bean Italian Meringue Buttercream. You can clearly see the little vanilla beans within the frosting which add that extra sophisticated touch… and elevated flavor of course A very important part of layered birthday cake is the buttercream that you use, so making sure that you use top-notch ingredients as well as the right buttercream is one of the secrets to making an incredible layered cake. I will give you guys a lot more tips and tricks to succeed your layered cake in my next post.
So being the adventurous person that I am I decided to go ahead and take it up a notch by making a fancier Italian meringue buttercream (for the first time ever!!) It was a little bit scary at first because it does have many many steps, but once you start and get it done I can assure you that you will never go back to the more traditional American buttercream!
The recipe that I bring to you today is from Yolanda’s baking website “how to cake it”. This baker is very famous on Instagram and on YouTube because of all the crazy cakes that she makes. I remember watching so many of her videos on Instagram where she would make huge handbag layered cakes or big basketballs or soccer balls cakes!
The only thing is that I made this recipe for us people without a professional kitchen so there will be some variations within the directions! I made a little mistake when I tried to follow her recipe from her website the first time. And then I realized what my mistake was and how I could fix it! Continue reading to find out what happened the first time I made her recipe…
My first time ever making Italian meringue buttercream I started by whipping up the egg whites and the sugar syrup into this beautiful shiny and glossy Italian meringue. I continued beating the meringue for another 15 minutes to ensure that the mixture cooled down. After this, I started adding my room temperature butter one cube at a time. And that’s when it happened… Everything collapsed. All the hard work, the patience, the 8 egg whites were ruined!
I was left with a soupy mess after I realized that the meringue hadn’t cooled enough!! The meringue was too warm and melted the butter that I added in right away!
So one of the biggest tips when it comes to your Italian buttercream is to make sure that the meringue cools down enough before you add in your butter. You can do so by touching the exterior of the stand mixer bowl to make sure that it hit the right temperature!
Since I live somewhere pretty hot, this was a long process for me. But this little trick helped me a lot;
- Grab a couple of kitchen towels, soak them in water and then squeeze most of the water out and place them in the freezer. After a couple of minutes, they’ll be close to frozen, at this time, take them out of the freezer and wrap them around your stand mixer bowl!
- This will ensure that your mix is cooling down a bit faster!
I kept doing this until I got a perfect temperature Italian meringue to add my butter into.
You could definitely salvage the ruined buttercream and if you are curious as to how to do that look under the recipe!
Vanilla Bean Italian Meringue Buttercream
Vanilla Bean Italian Meringue Buttercream
- 1 ¾ cup white granulated sugar
- 8 large egg whites
- 4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small sized pieces, at room temperature (very important!)
- A whole vanilla bean
- First, start by placing the sugar and ½ cup of water in a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and bring the sugar mixture to a boil.
- While the sugar syrup is heating up, put the egg whites in your stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment
- Using a candy thermometer check the temperature of the sugar syrup from time to time, when the syrup reached 235F, begin to whip up the egg whites on medium high speed. Whip the egg whites until they reach a stiff consistency.
- When the syrup reached 250F, remove the pan from the heat and with the mixer still running, pour the syrup slowly into the stiff egg whites. Pour the syrup in a thin stream between the wide of the bowl and the whisk attachment.
- Continue whipping the meringue at high speed, it will become thick and glossy. The bowl will also no longer be warm on the outside (VERY IMPORTANT) this could take anywhere between 15 to 45 minutes depending on where you live. It is imperative that the stand mixer bowl you are using is not hot to the touch anymore.
- With the mixer still running, add the butter one piece at a time. Make sure to wait until the pieces of butter are well incorporated before adding any more butter to the mix. Scrape down the bowl from time to time to ensure a homogeneous mixture.
- After you’ve added all the butter, add the scraped vanilla beans and continue whipping the mixture for another 3-5 minutes for that thick and smooth consistency.
- Make this ahead of time to let all the flavors infuse.
- This recipe can be stored 2-3 days at room temperature, 2 weeks in the fridge, 2 months in the freezer If you store this in the fridge or freezer you will need to bring it back to room temperature before reusing!
- Take it out several hours before using and let it get to room temperature. After that, put it in your stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on medium-low. This will make it look as if it is broken and curdled but no worries this is normal. Just let it continue doing its thing. After a little while turn the speed up to medium high and it will mix out smoothly!
How to salvage ruined buttercream
If your Italian meringue is too warm and you add the butter in then you will create a beautiful white soup, which might not be what you are going for at the moment. So to fix this issue:
- Place your meringue in the fridge or the freezer to allow it to cool down
- Whip after it cools down and started adding your room temperature butter
- This will fix your buttercream but It will never taste as good as it would’ve if it was done the first time, so if you could redo it I would stronger suggest that!
When I tried salvaging my failed Italien buttercream the next day (Strictly for experimental purposes haha!) I was able to see some differences between the one that I got done right the first time and the one that I had tried to salvage the next day.
- The color was leaning a lot more towards the yellowish white than that beautiful bright white buttercream.
- The flavor was completely different, even though I used the same amount of sugar, the failed batch tasted a lot less sweet. It also has too much butter flavor and not enough Italian meringue flavor which I was able to attain with the batch that came out right the first time.
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